Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas card for Muslims

A merry Christmas to all our Muslims readers.

Best wishes for the New Year.

We are hushed

Titian has Joseph hush the crowd. How good it is sometimes at Christmas. A father concerned about a baby.

A painter who thinks about such a thing. He knows the whole of the story of the life to come and go. He thinks of the baby. Tomorrow is later. For this time, we hush and let it be in peace.


Who would guess that Tanner could have such a life? Who would guess that a woman sitting in a hovel could have good news? We are blessed. Yeah, even though it seems so often that scepticism is the right road. Good things do come, even if not for you or me specifically all the time. But look how lucky we are to see even a copy of such a beautiful painting. We are blessed. What a gift to Man.

Tanner, Henry Ossawa

The Annunciation
Oil on canvas
57 x 71 1/2 in. (144.78 x 181.61 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas '10

R. M. Rilke, "Ich bin nur einer deiner Ganzgeringen" (Trans. R.Bly)

No one lives his life.

Disguised since childhood,
haphazardly assembled
from voices and fears and little pleasures,

We come of age as masks.
Our true face never speaks.

Somewhere there must be storehouses
where all these lives are laid away
like suits of armor or old carriages
or clothes hanging limply on the walls.

Maybe all paths lead there,
to the repository of unlived things.

I expect this to be my last Christmas in Canada. I'll be moving to a non-Christian country, Buddhist, for a start, and perhaps Hindu in the long-term. There are things to learn and things to wonder about, and that requires confrontation with the real rather than the merely imagined. I find that it's often easier to confront the real when one is confronted with the strange, with a face of reality that doesn't resemble the known. There won't be a final understanding, I suspect, of the True, but there can be glimmers.

I hope to see you all here, all of us pilgrims in search of something more than the assumption.

Merry Christmas.